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Talk by Prof Andy Lawrence

Astronomy is fascinating, beautiful, and inspiring. But isn’t it basically useless, a pure academic pursuit of no practical value? I will show that this is definitely not the case, explaining how astronomy contributes to science, technology, the economy, and education. However, our study of the sky is now under threat – from light pollution and from new mega-constellations of satellites streaking across the night sky. I will explain the problem and what we can do about it.

As well as being one of our Honorary Presidents, Andy Lawrence is the Regius Professor of Astronomy at the University of Edinburgh. His research covers quasars, observational cosmology, survey astronomy, and the Virtual Observatory. More recently he has become very interested in the idea of space environmentalism. You can read more about him at his website: https://andyxlastro.me

Image credits: Gordon Mackie / Andy Lawrence / Merlin Fischer-Levine